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21 May 2006 @ 01:18 pm
Supernatural Slash Fic: The Flow of Darkness, Chapter 3/3  
Title: The Flow of Darkness
Author: HalfshellVenus
Catetory: Sam/Dean (Slash), Chapter 3/3
Rating: R
Summary: Slightly AU. Sam’s dreams and an investigation coincide in Michigan, where new revelations await both brothers.
Author’s Notes: This could be considered to take place in the near future, as Sam’s powers are developing beyond what we’ve seen thus far.


x-x-x-x-x Chapter 3: But Now Am Found x-x-x-x-x

He is wrapped around Dean when the watch alarm goes off, and it takes him a moment to register what it means.

“Dean.” His voice is low and sleep-ridden.

His brother stirs and squints lazily in the darkness, then presses the heel of his hand against his left eye. His voice is rough. “Aren’t you the one that usually says, Do we have to?

“Want me to say it now?” Sam mumbles into Dean’s shoulder.

“Won’t help. You know we do. It’s why we came.”

Thanks, Dad, Sam thinks, as he rolls to the side and lets Dean sit up.

Dean’s not looking at him, and Sam can’t tell whether he’s sorry or afraid.

“It’ll be all right,” he says softly. “We’ll work through it,” and it’s an answer no matter what the question was.

Dean pats Sam’s leg, and hauls himself out the side and into the bathroom. The edges of his hair are wet when he comes back, and he drags on clothes and secures weapons in alternate stages. They’ll cover their bases, since they don’t know what they’re dealing with, and Dean’s got the full array going—guns, knives, fire, rock salt, silver bullets, holy water, iron and wood. They’re heavy and bulky, weighing down his belt and his jacket, but they are a soldier’s burden and they both got used to it long ago.

Sam’s dressed, armed, and they slide out the door.

It’ll be recon, unless they get lucky or unless someone shoots them while they’re sneaking around town looking for clues. They move quietly, circling around houses and looking in shadows, going as quickly as they can and leaving barking dogs in their wake.

Nothing. No smells or sounds out of the ordinary, nobody wandering around except them. Sam tilts his head toward the woods, and Dean follows him into the trees.

Sweeping sideways, back and forth in methodical patterns as they cover the ground, they are guided by the silver slant of the nearly-full moon. No flashlights—to keep from driving away what they’re hunting—and they are both searching and using themselves as bait at the same time.

They are finally near the water’s edge an hour later, where the creek flows out of its source. Something is… different now. There’s a presence here that was missing in the earlier part of their search. Sam can’t tell what it is, or what it wants, but that sense of awareness is tingling all over him. It has come and gone over the last few months, but it is getting more accurate over time. Sam moves closer to the water now as he feels the inescapable pull.

The lake is no longer empty. Something is reaching to him from under its depths.

He is frozen inside, and his legs carry him forward before he even realizes it’s happening. The water cleaves before him, sluicing off the rising form that is drawing him in, speaking meaningless words inside his head. His stomach is clenched, his lungs airless, and the pressure in his brain is so hard that he can barely think. He strains against the distraction, and now he recognizes this.

It’s his dream. This is the battle he’s lost again and again these last few nights.

If he could get his head back long enough to think, he could do something about it. There is no room for his own thoughts to connect anymore with all of this pushing, crowding, and aching filling up his skull.

“Sam!” Dean yells, knocking into him roughly before he walks right into the water. “What the hell are you doing?”

What? Sam hadn’t even known his feet were moving.

"I—" he starts, but then Dean’s gone completely still. His brother’s eyes are locked on the wraithlike figure in the center of the lake, and unbelievably—impossibly-- Dean is skimming slowly through the air toward the water. Sam thinks Dean can’t be floating, but clearly he is.

Dean is about to be taken. This must be how it happens.

“No!” Sam yells out. This is absolutely not going to be the end of it.

Sam pulls out his guns, one loaded with regular bullets and the other with the rock-salt kind, and fires off several shots of each. It doesn’t help—Dean is over the water now, still being pulled in toward destruction. The air is filled with a kind of electrical hum.

Bullets clearly are not the answer, and Sam is too far away to try knives. He racks his memory for words and chants, but he is out of ideas and nearly out of time. Dean is clear out over the middle of the lake, powerless and immobilized. In a heartbeat, he is sucked down below the dark surface of the water as Sam watches in sickening terror.

No-one is taking him from me! A quick rush of anger overrides the edges of his panic, and Sam becomes a force of concentrated fury. The groundswell of his rage focuses on the source of malevolent power surrounding that silent creature-- and suddenly, an explosion lights up the sky. A shockwave blows out to the edges of the lake, and Dean is thrown up out of the water even as Sam is felled by the blast.

What-- “Dean! Dean!” Sam stumbles into the wetness, sinking into the lake bed on his way to his brother. He struggles out further, weighted down by clothes and weapons, until he is near enough to haul Dean up by his jacket and drag him closer to shore.

Dean coughs, watering spewing up before he catches his breath, and then Sam stops moving and is crushing him to his chest. Dean sways under the assault.

"Wh—" he sputters, but Sam kisses him so hard he can’t breathe. It’s warm and liquid, filling the empty corners of his soul, and he’s drowning in all that it means. When they break off, Sam’s worried eyes drink him in. He brushes a hand over Dean’s cheek before kissing him again and again, and then urges Dean out toward the shore.

“What just happened?” Dean rasps out, glancing back over his shoulder.

There are not going to be enough words for Sam to explain it in a way he even understands himself. He feels shaky and slightly sick, and he is nowhere ready to talk about it. “What part of it?” he asks, stalling to clear his head.

“All of it, Sam! Why were you walking into the lake, and how did I get in there too?”

Sam feels the cold setting in, from the water and from what he’s done. His words tumble out in a rush. “It was in my head. It was using up all my thoughts, and then the next thing I knew you were floating across the water and it was taking you, just like in my dream.” It must have taken all those people, he realizes. The lake must be full of their bones.

Dean looks uncertain. “If I was floating, how come you were walking?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it had a bigger hold on me—maybe it can work me. Because I can hear it.”

“That makes no sense to me whatsoever. Not that any of this does.” Dean sighs, and leans down to slap the water out of his pants. “So what did you do to it? Why didn’t it get us?”

Because I killed it, Sam thinks, but he isn’t ready to say it. His jaw is tight and his eyes evade Dean’s. “I’m not sure why we got away. But it’s gone.” I felt it die, his conscious whispers even as his mind seeks a way to avoid thinking about it. It is one thing to practice setting off matches or floating plastic cups when Dean is out of the room, but suddenly calling forth a killing blow is an enormous uncontrolled leap that leaves Sam rattled and unfocused. It is worse than his visions, and far worse than not understanding his dreams or the reasons he has them.

“It’s really gone?” Dean’s voice is low, as if he’s afraid of waking something.

“Yes. Whatever it was, it won’t be back.”

Dean looks into Sam’s face and sees what’s there. “You destroyed it, didn’t you?” he says quietly. There is no hint of judgment in his voice

“Yes,” Sam whispers. Dean gathers him close, holding tight and rocking slowly in gentle comfort. “It’s what we were looking for, wasn’t it?” he murmurs in Sam’s ear. Sam nods against him, unwilling to speak.

“Then it’s just another kind of hunting, Sam,” he says. “It’s like any other weapon you use when you need it.”

Sam’s breath hitches for a moment. He understands the logic and he knows that Dean is right, but that power was new and merciless and it is more than he knows how to cope with.

“Let’s get back,” Dean says softly, and he puts an arm around Sam’s waist and helps pull him along as he goes. They are at the hotel before long, and Sam’s adrenaline fades rapidly as soon as it’s in sight. He’s tired—hell, he’s drained-- and there’s a new part of himself that he doesn’t understand and that wasn’t there yesterday.

Dean unlocks the door, but stops without going in. Sam sways in the doorway next to him, just waiting.

“Sam,” Dean says, reaching a hand out to steady his brother. Dean’s earnest eyes contrast oddly with his wet clothes and lake-slick hair. “You can’t be the first person this has ever happened to. Someone has to know how to control it. We’ll find them.”

“And what if we don’t?” Sam asks, all his weariness coming through in just a few words.

“Then we’ll figure something out,” Dean answers. “Like we always do.”

He brushes the hair out of Sam’s eyes, and steers him toward the bed that is waiting to embrace him. Sam collapses on it, too exhausted to move, and after a moment Dean undoes Sam’s shoes and starts pulling off his wet clothes. This isn’t new, Sam realizes dimly. This isn’t because of what has changed between them. This is how Dean is. Dean has always taken care of him when he most needs it, and half the time Sam doesn’t even notice it.

He grabs Dean’s wrist as it pulls the bedspread down. “Thanks,” he says softly, and Dean shrugs it off and keeps going. “Dean,” he says more loudly, and finally his brother looks at him. “Don’t make it so easy for me to take you for granted. You deserve better than that.”

Dean’s eyes are so large and still then that Sam knows those words have finally reached him. He reaches a hand out, and when Dean takes it he draws him down to sit on the bed. He guides Dean down against him and holds him until the clammy fabric against his skin makes him shiver.

“You need to rest,” Dean says, and he maneuvers Sam under the covers and settles him in. “Will you be warm enough to sleep?” Dean asks.

“Yes,” Sam answers, already too tired to care.

“I’ll be back after a hot shower, but don’t wait up for me,” Dean says, and his kiss lets Sam know that it’s the truth and not just an excuse. Dean lays Sam’s pants over the back of the chair and takes off his own shirt and jacket to drape them on the lampshade and doorknob. There is a faint squishing sound as he walks into the bathroom, and Sam smiles faintly as the door drifts shut and the room grows dark.

The shower goes on, and the quiet roar fills Sam’s head with a lulling distraction. He turns on his side, worn out and ready for sleep.

By the time Dean returns Sam is barely awake, but the shifting mattress and moving covers rouse him briefly.

Sam turns and wriggles toward that solid warmth, and Dean settles him in closely, reassuringly. A soft kiss brushes Sam’s forehead, and a strong hand strokes through his hair slowly, soothingly.

“Dean,” Sam murmurs happily, and his brother’s sigh admits the release of guarded tension.

Content—complete—Sam sinks into the comfort of Dean’s arms.

Anchored at last, and safe for now, he sleeps in weightlessness in a world without dreams.


------- fin --------


 
 
 
Are we back to hos over bros?lissa_bear on May 21st, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
*happy sigh* You end everything so beautifully.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 21st, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ♥

The ending was the hardest part on this story. Everything from the return to the lake was re-written umpty-ump times before it seemed to satisfy. So if in the end it's good, then-- Yay! I have never had to work for a fic so hard as for this one.
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean slashhalfshellvenus on May 21st, 2006 11:22 pm (UTC)
I love your Sam perspective here, it's anxious and needy
I hope not too needy! It's just that, given what's happening to him (and what his life has become-- actually worse, in some ways), I can understand why he's grateful to have that rock to lean on.

That Dean would always be there (until Sam broke him for good) we can be assured of.

And it's nice to have him give Dean something back-- and make Dean accept it for a change. :) He's so... self-hatingly stubborn that way.

Thank you, wenchpixie!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2006 05:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
trishabooms: geisha dancetrishabooms on May 21st, 2006 11:45 pm (UTC)
I thought that was absolutely beautiful, thank you so much for sharing!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I had hoped that 'beautiful' would be one of lasting impressions of this story-- and of the place that Sam and Dean finally get to in their relationship. :)
belleimani on May 21st, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
Beautiful.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 05:10 am (UTC)
Thank you-- so glad you enjoyed it. :)
(no subject) - belleimani on May 22nd, 2006 08:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
BEWARE OF JENMAR.: SPN - Save Me - Dean/Samclex_monkie89 on May 22nd, 2006 02:42 am (UTC)
It's already been said at least three times above me but this really is just beautiful. And it was oddly peaceful and serene and calming and I just love reading a story that leaves me with a smile.

I've said it before but I really can't say it enough: I absolutely love the way you write.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 06:32 am (UTC)
And it was oddly peaceful and serene and calming
I love that you came away with that tone. Now I know why maygra thinks of it as dreamlike-- it must be somehow lulling? I'm guessing? Does that sound right?

and I just love reading a story that leaves me with a smile.
Me too. :)

I absolutely love the way you write.
Thank you so much, Clex. The feeling is mutual, truly.
(no subject) - clex_monkie89 on May 22nd, 2006 06:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2006 05:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - clex_monkie89 on May 23rd, 2006 05:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - clex_monkie89 on May 23rd, 2006 05:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
has hope, if not faith: ff trying to be someonesaekokato on May 22nd, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
I love how...quiet this feels. I don't know how, but you managed to make this feel like I was reading while under water, or maybe like that moment or two before you fall asleep, when you're mind is still awake, but your body is already gone? Yeah, that's what this felt like. Wonderful, just wonderful.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 06:36 am (UTC)
feel like I was reading while under water, or maybe like that moment or two before you fall asleep, when you're mind is still awake, but your body is already gone? Yeah, that's what this felt like.
Wow. I guess the theme of the fic drove the tone more than I'd realized. Your description of the mood it had for you was fantastic-- I totally understand what you mean by that. :)

Thank you for such lovely words. They give me such clarity in how you feel. ♥

Skywalker-Winchester: winchesters jainadurronanakin415 on May 22nd, 2006 02:46 am (UTC)
how the hell can you do this, its pure genius.

this was a hell of a story. I am hoping next season Sams powers get strong, it should make things more interesting.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean slashhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 06:40 am (UTC)
this was a hell of a story.
Oh, thank goodness. I have never struggled so hard to bring a story to completion as this one. Thank goodness for my beta readers, who forced me to make the ending complete the mood and be written in a way that people outside my own head would understand it.

I am hoping next season Sams powers get strong, it should make things more interesting.
It's so hard to know where they're going with this-- I love the various hints we've had in fanfiction of practicing, training with people who know, and even one story that hinted that other than visions, Sam only channels what's available from other people's/being's powers.

At this point, I'm just feeling immensely grateful that there will BE a second season. Whew.
(no subject) - anakin415 on May 22nd, 2006 01:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Kronette: Flailkronette on May 22nd, 2006 03:59 am (UTC)
Words...fail. This was just beautiful. I love your Sam and Dean...their devotion to each other. Broken!Dean always hits me, but when Sam realizes that Dean needed to be loved...*melts*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean slashhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 06:43 am (UTC)
Broken!Dean always hits me, but when Sam realizes that Dean needed to be loved...*melts*
Oh, wasn't it just time? And such a struggle as well, because Dean does not make that easy for anyone. He needs it so badly that he is terrified to have that love outright denied or withdrawn. So he steels himself by pushing it away as if it doesn't matter. Thank goodness Sam has patience...

I seriously love your icon-- and your use of it here honors me beyond words! Thank you. :)
(no subject) - kronette on May 23rd, 2006 04:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2006 05:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
Sorrel, the artist formerly known as goddessleila: Sad Samsorrelchestnut on May 22nd, 2006 04:10 am (UTC)
I know I've said it before, but this is honestly a gorgeous piece of writing. Everything is soft-focus and shining, and it's the little details that really pull this together. Like Sam's observation about their soldier's burden, the way they search and use themselves as bait both, and the way Dean sees is as just another type of hunting, because that's what Sam needs to hear, even if he can't believe it yet. And the ending, of course, is just... beautiful. Sweet, thoughtful, romantic- just perfect. Standing ovation for this one, definitely. I enjoyed every word.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
and the way Dean sees is as just another type of hunting, because that's what Sam needs to hear, even if he can't believe it yet.
And it's true at the same time-- they need every weapon in their arsenal they can get, with such powerful and varied enemies to battle.

Sweet, thoughtful, romantic- just perfect.
And you really helped in making sure it got that way-- that it wasn't sidestepped at the end. :)

Standing ovation for this one, definitely.
Oh, your help was invaluable. Without you and maygra, this would have been a much less good story altogether, truly. Thank you again for your guidance-- it was exactly what I needed. ♥
The Grammarian about whom your mother warned you.acostilow on May 22nd, 2006 04:53 am (UTC)
*dies a happy death*

Brilliant. Beautiful. Needy and sweet and yes. Insert compliment of choice here:_________________.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean slashhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
*dies a happy death*
:) Another one? I score again! Thank goodness you can be revived...

Needy and sweet and yes.
:D That says it all right there. Thank you, Athena!
Courtneyaldrea7 on May 22nd, 2006 05:48 am (UTC)
I love the way you write. When I see a story by you, I don't even check out the summary, I just know that I'm going to like it, and I haven't been disappointed yet. Such a beautiful story, I loved the gentle, warm rythm it has to it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean slashhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC)
I don't even check out the summary, I just know that I'm going to like it, and I haven't been disappointed yet.
Thank you-- that is lovely! Especially for this one, as the summary probably doesn't do the theme justice. I found this one hard to describe.

I loved the gentle, warm rythm it has to it.
Oh, such lovely words. *beams with your generosity* I'm glad the tone succeeded as well. :)
Entendre? Make mine a double.: Beauty Samdeirdre_c on May 22nd, 2006 09:12 am (UTC)
I'd say all your hard work paid off, because it turned out beautifully!

The whole thing was very serene. Even the creepiness of the town and the nature of the Big Bad were muted (in a good way very in keeping with the tone of the whole).

The boys both have a tenderness about them in this fic that is really lovely to read. Both in their changing physical relationship and how Dean handles Sam's growing powers.

This description of Dean really struck me:
He can no longer just watch his brother, for all his thoughts are suspect now and his presence is not to be relied upon. Dean keeps anticipating his disapproval, not in the everyday sense but in the way that a child fears being abandoned. It’s as if Sam looks long enough, he might find another reason to leave. Dean’s flaws are all too close to the surface-- he doesn’t need an audience for every awkward joke or bad decision.

Very nice. Thanks for sharing!!

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
Even the creepiness of the town and the nature of the Big Bad were muted (in a good way very in keeping with the tone of the whole).
It's odd that you've definitely hit on that aspect of it. There's an air of mystery to this story, in that the brothers aren't getting a lot of cooperation from any quarters, and also in that they're dealing with something that appropriates its victims before they even know that it's happening. There's a dreamlike, unreal feeling to that aspect of it.

Oh, and you picked one of my favorite areas in describing Dean's behavior-- the way he's partly holding back much of the time, the tendency (I know I've said it before) to avoid "spooking" Sam into running off. At times he's his goofy, blowhard self, but at others his tenuousness drives everything.

So glad you enjoyed this one, Deirdre, and thank you as always for your lovely and insightful comments. I love that you "get me" and my views of the characters so well. :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2006 05:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
la_folle_allure on May 22nd, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC)
God... honestly I tried to single out sections that blew me away but the entire story had me fawning and oo-ing and melting all over the place. I love how possessive Sam can get and realize in the exact same breath that he's been taking Dean for granted. Just perfect *hugs*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean slashhalfshellvenus on May 22nd, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
but the entire story had me fawning and oo-ing and melting all over the place.
Whoo! *Is ded from the amazing compliment right there*

and realize in the exact same breath that he's been taking Dean for granted.
And then finally... that Dean is partly responsible for that, whether he means to be or not. It destroys him to be taken for granted and overlooked, but he's gotten to this twisted, fearful place where he rejects sensitivity and thanks and instead just keeps that circle of pain spinning around and around with every push he gives it.

I am so very happy you enjoyed this story! Oh, it's been ages! But you make it so worthwhile. :D
darkhavens: sn damaged [literati]darkhavens on May 22nd, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
Someone further up the page said that this piece invoked the feeling of being underwater, and I agree. It has that slight feeling of disconnect, the low drag of resistance.

Sam's strike out against the thing that was trying to take Dean away was powerful for being so inexplicable. He doesn't know exactly what he's done or how, he just knows he did it, and he killed something. Aaaand now I can imagine him smiling at Dean and quoting River in Firefly: 'I can kill you with my brain'. LOL

I sincerely hope they expand on Sam's abilities in S2. S2! Yay! Just saying that gives me a buzz.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2006 05:33 am (UTC)
It has that slight feeling of disconnect, the low drag of resistance.
Perhaps like drowning yet being unaware of it-- just as the creature does to its victims.

He doesn't know exactly what he's done or how, he just knows he did it, and he killed something.
This is the expansion of his feelings, really-- the huge, killing blow of it could come at any time even on the series. But I was interested in exploring just a heightened sensitivity to go with those visions-- essentially, the ability to detect some of the things they spend their lives hunting. That seems like an area he might expand into-- much like Missouri knowing the psychic nature of the things inside the Winchesters' old house. And with it would come benefit, but also burden. To feel such things is to be intruded on by them-- Sam's world could get less quiet than it already is.

I'm glad at this point to _have_ a Season 2. If not for the merger, I think a continuation would have easily been assured. But with the combined stupidity potential of two different networks becoming one, they could so easily toss the show away despite its ratings and worldwide buzz. You just never know....

/wank off. Sorry about that! But thank you for such delightful and interesting comments. :)
katbcollkatbcoll on May 22nd, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
This. Was. Amazing!

I wish I could come up with more, but the brain is stuck on "oh fucking wow"
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on May 23rd, 2006 05:36 am (UTC)
I wish I could come up with more, but the brain is stuck on "oh fucking wow"
I think that all things considered, you did just fine. :D

Your message came through loud and clear, and it brought a huge smile to my face. Thank you! :D

Those chibis rule! So cute...